Travelling around Santorini is easy as it is a small island and there is a good, inexpensive bus service. Car rental is another simple option. If you are on the island for more than one week, it may be worth hiring a car for only some of your stay as the local bus service is reliable, air-conditioned and regular in the high season.
Travelling by bus within Santorini is not without its idiosyncrasies. Although there are routes to most of the main villages and beaches, bus timetables and frequencies change regularly and without notice. Also be aware that many of the public buses look like tour buses, so be careful not to make the mistake and miss your bus.
The main bus depot is near the central square of Fira on the lower side road. The cost range for all routes is between 1 and 2.5 € and in summer season there is a bus every 30 minutes to most areas. The link between Athinos port and Fira bus depot are timed to get you to your ship between 1 and 1.5 hours prior to departure.
Fira-Oia via Firostefani and Imerovigli
Fira-Perissa via Karterados, Messaria, Pyrgos, Emborio, Megalochori and Perivolos
Fira-Kamari via Karterados and Messaria
Fira-Vlihada via Karterados, Messaria, Pyrgos, Emborio, Megalochori and Perivolos
Fira-Vourvoulos via Kontochori
Fira-airport via Karterados, Messaria and Monolithos
Fira-Akrotiri via Karterados, Messaria and Vothonas
There are no direct buses that go from one side of the island to the other. Fira is the main bus depot and all routes go there. You therefore have to travel to the town and change bus for your onward journey to other villages or beaches.
In the high season, some bus routes operate as late as 3 A.M. but check first.
Bus company telephone numbers: 25404, 23821
Taxis are plentiful and taxi drivers are expected to speak English. The main taxi stand is just below Fira square, next to the old bus depot. Minimum charges start at 2 € and then it depends on where you go. The time of day, the amount of luggage and if they have to pick you up, will all be taken into account in the final charge.
To give you some idea of cost, the fare from Fira to the airport will be around 15 € and say a journey from Fira to Oia will cost between 12 and 15 € during the day. It is always advisable to establish the fare before you get into a taxi.
Taxi tel. number: 22555
There is a myriad of small car hire companies on the island and they are all of high quality and open to a little negotiation, especially at the beginning and end of the season. In Fira town you will find the majority of companies on 25th Martiou, the road that leads up the hill north from the main square.
In Greece they drive on the right-hand side of the road and you just need a valid driving license. Very often the rental companies ask for both the driving license and a credit card. I would also recommend that you take note of the advise of the car company as to which roads your particular vehicle is appropriate for. Many of the unpaved interior roads look fine as you enter them, but they usually get progressively worse, with large potholes and sometimes with nowhere to turn around. Fuel is readily available with modern service stations throughout the island. Prices are on average just above 1 € a litre.
From the port below Fira, there are a wide range of excursions and private boat hire available. Do not miss a trip around the island"s coast or a visit to the volcano.
A traditional cacique takes you first out to Nea Kameni, the youngest and still active (but at present dormant) volcano. You land on the island and take a well-worn path past a number of previously active craters, finally reaching the summit. Returning to the boat, it then moves on to Palea Kameni, where it drops anchor for those who would like to swim in the hot mineral springs that emanate from deep underground on this island. The boat then returns to the Old Port, the round trip takes about 3 hours.
Details of these can be obtained from the companies in the port or through the many travel agents in Fira and the other resorts.